Paternity is the legal term for fatherhood of a child. Paternity can be established by naming a man as the father on the birth certificate. Knowingly listing someone other than the actual biological father on the birth certificate is paternity fraud. Texas allows fathers to have paternity testing conducted to disestablish paternity within the first two years of the child's life.
Consequences for Mothers
If a mother falsely names someone as father on the baby's the birth certificate, he can challenge child support orders. If a woman falsifies the father's name on the birth certificate to facilitate adoption, the adoption can be overturned. If she falsifies the birth certificate to keep the real father out of the child's life, this can count against her if the biological father seeks custody or visitation.
Consequences in Divorce
If the fraud is discovered during divorce, the woman risks civil but rarely criminal penalties for fraud. It can also hurt her standing in divorce court.
Consequences for Medical Professionals
A nurse or midwife who knowingly falsifies a birth certificate, including naming the wrong man as the father on a birth certificate, has committed a crime. In Texas, this is a third-degree felony. It will also cost them their medical license.
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- "The Rights of Women: the Authoritative ACLU Guide to Women's Rights"; Lenora Lapidus, Emily J. Martin, Namita Luthra; 2009
- "Paternity Establishment: Child Support and Beyond"; Carmen Solomon-Fears; 2003
- "Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples"; Ralph Warner, Toni Ihara, Frederick Hertz; 2008
- "Legal Handbook for Texas Nurses"; Susan Schuerman Murphy; 1995
- "Fathers' Rights"; James Gross; 2006